In an insult to the slain jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) who sacrificed their lives securing Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah did not bother to show up to honour them at a wreath laying ceremony in Srinagar on Thursday.
Abdullah’s absence from the wreath laying ceremony was being seen as his political move to satisfy people who want security forces to leave the valley or their powers be curtailed by withdrawing Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
The chief minister has always been vocal in incidents of violence wherein a common youth or alleged militant has been killed in firing by security personnel or on issues like the recent hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
J-K Police order made CRPF men sitting ducks
Ironically, it was a state government diktat that has made the paramilitary forces in the state sitting ducks for terrorists. Headlines Today accessed a letter by the state police to the paramilitary forces last month that raises doubts on whether the chief minister has put politics above national security.
The document raises question whether this official order is directly responsible for the death of five CRPF jawans in the attack in Bemina area in Srinagar on Wednesday. The letter orders jawans of the CRPF, ITBP and BSF not to carry firearms.
As a result of this official communication, the unarmed CRPF jawans in Bemina had to defend themselves with lathis against the automatic weapons and grenades of suicide attackers.
Was police order to paramilitary forces illegal?
Slamming the government over its diktat, leading lawyer Harish Salve said on Thursday that the order to paramilitary forces to disarm was prima facie illegal.
“CRPF has its own Act and own chain of command. I don’t think Jammu and Kashmir Police has powers to act in this way,” Salve said, adding, “Yes, the police can only take such steps in a specific mob situation.”
“The police cannot tell CRPF to simply drop arms… We have paid a price for such an order. This needs to be resolved at the earliest. Forces are working at cross purposes. God be with Jammu and Kashmir if this is how they will function,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers Party and the BJP demanded the chief minister’s resignation as they raised the issue in the assembly.